BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers reached a deal early Monday on a bill that would legalize betting on professional and collegiate sports, joining more than 30 other states, including several neighbors.
The House and Senate versions of the bill differed on collegiate sports betting, with the Senate version barring such wagers and the House version allowing it. Several universities in the state that play NCAA Division I athletics had previously expressed opposition to college sports betting.
But under Monday's compromise, betting on in-state colleges and universities will not be allowed unless those schools are playing in a national tournament, including the NCAA basketball tournaments.
“I am proud to announce that the Sports Betting Conference Committee has reached an agreement on legislation that will legalize wagering on professional and collegiate sports in Massachusetts, bringing the immense economic benefits of a legal sports betting industry to MA,” Democratic House Speaker Ron Mariano said in a tweet at about 5 a.m.
The bill now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who in the past has expressed support for sports wagering, saying evidence shows that state residents are already traveling to Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York and Connecticut to place legal wagers.
The bill also includes measures to address problem gambling.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 ruled that banning sports betting was unconstitutional.